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Application: service-manual-frontend

Serves the Service Manual and Service Toolkit on GOV.UK


#govuk-platform-health owns the application and is responsible for updating its dependencies.


The production version of this application is hosted on AWS.

SSH Access (AWS)

gds govuk connect ssh -e integration draft_frontend
gds govuk connect ssh -e staging aws/draft_frontend
gds govuk connect ssh -e production aws/draft_frontend

Run a rake task

Example pages rendered by service-manual-frontend


Warning The content below is pulled in directly from the repository.
Links might not function properly.

Service Manual Frontend is a public-facing app to display the service manual formats on GOV.UK.

Technical documentation

This is a Ruby on Rails application that fetches documents from content-store and displays them.


Development notes

The application does not serve content at its root (/) - the homepage will be found at but only if the content item for the homepage exists in the content store.

You can achieve this by restoring from a production backup, publishing the home page using the rake task in service-manual-publisher or by using the dummy content store.

Running the test suite

The test suite relies on the presence of the govuk-content-schemas repository. If it is present at the same directory level as the service-manual-frontend repository then run the tests with:

bundle exec rake

Or to specify the location explicitly:

GOVUK_CONTENT_SCHEMAS_PATH=/some/dir/govuk-content-schemas bundle exec rake

Visual regression tests

Use Wraith ("A responsive screenshot comparison tool") to generate a visual diff to compare rendering changes in this application.

Wraith does not work correctly from within the VM because is not resolvable within the VM, and so none of the assets load. You should instead install wraith on your local machine and run it from there.

Wraith has some dependencies you'll also need to install.

First, on master branch, run:

wraith history test/wraith/config.yaml

Then, on a branch with your changes, run:

wraith latest test/wraith/config.yaml

This will generate image diffs comparing the two runs, including a browseable gallery of the output, in tmp/wraith.

Use of BEM

The Service manual frontend application uses a modified version of the BEM methodology, coined by Harry Roberts.

It uses the following conventions:

  • block, element and modifier names are written in lower case
  • words within the names of BEM entities are separated by a hyphen (-)
  • an element name is separated from a block name by a double underscore (__)
  • modifiers are delimited by double hyphens (--)
  • Key-value type modifiers are not used

A block:


An element:


A modifier:



MIT License